Post-WrestleMania time! Shortly before WM III, the WWF taped a lot of television. As I’ve said previously, they took time off the road after WrestleMania. The TV they taped would simply have to hold the fort. Rather than talk in circles about it, let’s watch it! Remember, all the things reviewed in this article can be found around the internet. I’m merely sharing my favorites.
– Taped to air April 4th, 1987, on Superstars of Wrestling, from Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio
The Iron Sheik (w/Slick) vs. Jim Duggan
Pre-Match Thoughts: Granted, I already reviewed a Saturday Night’s Main Event where Hacksaw was doing something as a result of a feud already having begun. The events of WrestleMania III, in addition to this match, explain why it has begun.
Match Review: Duggan quickly enters the ring, and gets attacked. He responds with a bodyslam of Sheik, and follows with a knee drop. After that, Duggan has an insert promo. Nothing special there. Sheik’s head goes into the turnbuckle, and Duggan tries a cover after an elbow. It only got 2. Sheik and Duggan then blew a spot, and Sheik takes control, hitting Duggan with a clothesline. Duggan fires back, only to get knocked down again. Duggan gets thrown to the floor, and SLICK HITS HIM WITH THE CANE. COMMIE VOLKOFF RUSHES DOWN, AND BREAKS THE CANE OVER DUGGAN’S FACE. I’ve never seen Volkoff look like such a beast. He climbs in the ring, and continues to beat up a bloodied Duggan. Slick and Sheik do as well, and of course there’s a disqualification, at 2:57. Some babyfaces rush down to the ring, and get the communist and the Iranian out of there.
My Thoughts: Match was pretty bad, but was simply taking up time until they could get to the angle, which was good enough. Duggan was supposed to be a big draw for the WWF, because they needed support for their ‘B’ shows, or a main draw for their ‘C’ shows. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working out that way before he got arrested. 1/2*.
Later in March, the tapings for future April shows occurred. On them, Mr. Fuji became the manager of Demolition! The WWF also gave Missy Hyatt a try-out on those and some other future tapings. She was doing one of those interview shows, called Missy’s Manor. Some of them have been uploaded to YouTube if you want to search for them. It was considered a failure, none of them ever made TV, and she quit.
– April 23rd, 1987, from the Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts
The Hart Foundation (WWF Tag Team Champions) & Danny Davis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Obviously, this is a handicap match. A very weird one at that. It was taped for Coliseum Video, and released on “Even More Unusual Matches”. Poor choice of commentators, sadly. It’s Craig DeGeorge going solo. For fuck’s sake.
Match Review: It isn’t like the heels have an advantage here. Neidhart and Haynes will start the match, or rather, Neidhart and Hogan will. These two wrestling each other is really weird. Hogan kicks his ass, then Bret rushes in to get hit, and the heels regroup on the floor. Now it’s going to be Bret’s turn to be in legally. Hogan vs. Bret…this is rare. Hogan puts a wristlock on Bret, presses him in the air and drops him. Haynes and Hogan exchange a couple of tags, the most notable thing happening being a double axehandle from the second rope dished out by Hogan. On one of Haynes ventures into the ring, he gives Bret an inverted atomic drop. Neidhart breaks up an attempt at a cover, switches with Bret, and lifts Haynes in the air by his hair before dropping him. Then Bret tags in, and they do their backbreaker-elbow double team. The Foundation illegally switches, and triple team Haynes. Haha. Bret then distracts the referee, while Davis chokes Haynes. Bret follows that with a legally spotted backbreaker, and in comes Danny Davis. He kicks Haynes in the face a couple of times, and tags out. That shit’s funny. Neidhart tags in, and in tandem with Bret lands a double elbow on Haynes. DeGeorge is awful on commentary, he called that a BIG CLOTHESLINE. Neidhart has Haynes in a bear hug, but Haynes reverses…only to get scratched in the face. Haynes makes the tag, but it isn’t spotted by the referee. So Bret switches in, also not spotted by the referee. Haha. He gives Haynes a leg drop, and picks him up for a rope running spot, which causes them to both collide.
Neidhart and Hogan tag in, and that’s trouble for the heels. Big trouble. Hogan clotheslines the Anvil, and gives him an atomic drop. Then Hogan picks him up, lands a big boot, and Bret rushes into the ring. Haynes rushes in as well and throws Bret to the outside. Lastly, Hogan gives Neidhart the LEG DROP, and that’s a pinfall win for his team at 9:15. After the match, they beat up poor Danny Davis.
My Thoughts: That finish was extremely disjointed and looked pretty bad to me. Maybe there was some miscommunication there, I don’t really know. The match was okay, it was formula Hart Foundation stuff, formula Hogan stuff, and somehow it all came together. The Foundation couldn’t land their better stuff, but that’s to be expected. **. People had to sit through ALL of the tapings to get to that match, and they went home happy. Good for them.
– Taped to air May 2nd, 1987, on Superstars of Wrestling, from the Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts
Ken Patera & Bobby Heenan debate
People really wanted to see this shit. I’d rather not see Patera do anything, especially with the ring rust he had. Even on the microphone, the guy was absurd. Some of his matches, promos, and feuds before this were better though. Far better than this stuff. He should have never been a babyface, the guy is a natural heel. Hilarious how part of Bobby Heenan’s speech is “censored.” My review is simple and plain, I’m skipping to the business end of this. After much argument, Heenan eventually says that his stable is going to take out Ken Patera. Then he takes off his belt, whips Patera, and gets his ass kicked. The crowd loves this. Patera ties the belt around Heenan’s neck, and tosses him to the canvas. Hence, the neck brace is born. Otherwise, that sucked.
Johnny V vs. Brutus “THE BARBER” Beefcake
Pre-Match Thoughts: Beefcake has his barber thing going on now. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, especially considering that I’ll now be watching him in more singles matches. Subsequently that means he’ll be working more, and Valentine won’t be able to carry him. Of course, I should watch his match against his former manager. This is from the same episode of Superstars. Before the bout, Johnny has a promo. He gave the Dream Team a night off. That’s going to go well.
Match Review: Johnny attacks Beefcake from behind to start the match, but that doesn’t owork out too well for him. Beefcake bodyslams him, and punches him over the top rope. That was baaaad. Beefcake has an insert promo, and…that was baaaaaaaaad. Back inside the ring, Beefcake puts a SLEEPER on Johnny. After 1:42, Johnny is asleep, so that’s the end of the match and a win for Beefcake.
After the match, Beefcake cuts Johnny’s hair. I expected that!
My Thoughts: What an absurd gimmick. I can imagine Vinnie Mac coming up with this gimmick one day when he thought about how much a barber could have a bad day and damage his slicked back look. Or something as stupid as that. The thing is, it gave a really crappy worker something to work off of. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done anything worth keeping him around for, other than making Hogan happy. DUD for the match, because as short as it was, it still found a way to suck.
– May 2nd, 1987, from Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. The Islanders
Pre-Match Thoughts: Absolutely no idea what to expect from this. The Islanders were a very underrated team, but Demolition aren’t exactly workrate specialists. Hilariously, ‘Real American’ played at the beginning of Demolition’s entrance. That was obviously a mistake.
Match Review: Smash and Tama will start the match, and Smash clocks Tama HARD. However, Smash misses a charge to the corner, as Mr. Fuji contributes some commentary. HAHA. Tama has a wristlock on Smash, who gets out and is given a flying bodypress for 1. Haku tags in, gets raked in the eyes, and Ax tags in as well. Ax gives Haku a bodyslam, but misses an elbow drop and gets kicked in the face. Ax comes back with a clothesline, but Haku persists with a wristlock, constantly making reversals to put it on. Ax makes a tag regardless, and Smash doesn’t fare too much better. Tama tags in, and comes off the top with a double axehandle. Demolition uses the ol’ knee to the back trick to regain control, and distract the referee so that Mr. Fuji can assault Tama with his cane. Ax puts a neck vice on Tama, as they rest. Not that this match needed a rest, the Islanders are too good to need rests. Smash sneaks in a tag to prevent Tama from making a comeback, then tags back out shortly after that. Now Ax puts Tama in a chinlock, sucking more and more time away from the match. Tama breaks free and tries a cover, which is idiotic because Ax kicks out and knocks Tama to the floor. On the outside, Smash runs Tama’s back into the ring apron. Tama finally crawls back up to the apron, tumbles into the ring after getting punched, and lands a huge clothesline.
In comes Haku, who cleans house. He gives Smash a dropkick, and tags Tama back in, for a double elbow. They give Smash a double headbutt, and naturally, things get out of hand. The referee tries to usher Haku back to his corner, and Ax takes that opportunity to grab Fuji’s cane and nails Tama in the throat with it. Smash falls on top for the cover, and that’s all she wrote at 9:32.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t a spectacular match, and it didn’t make Demolition look like the monsters they were supposed to be. It was really slow paced too, and the Islanders didn’t have a chance to get their stuff in or work. *.
– Taped to air May 9th, 1987, on Superstars of Wrestling, from the Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts
Bret Hart (WWF Tag Team Champion) (w/Jimmy Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. Davey Boy Smith (w/Dynamite Kid)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Usually, the singles matches between these teams turn out to be Neidhart vs. Davey and Bret vs. Dynamite. This is a bit different, and for obvious reasons with Dynamite being injured.
Match Review: To start the match off, Davery hits Bret with a huge shoulderblock to knock him out of the ring. Like Jesse says, two great athletes out there, and this should be good fun. Davey drags Bret back in, and Bret hits him with a running knee. He follows with an inverted atomic drop, and a big backdrop. Davey tries to come back with a crucifix, but Bret turns that into a Samoan drop. Then he misses a charge to the corner, and Davey lands his shoulder charge. Davey also throws Bret to the other side, and picks him up by the hair, then drops him. Davey lands a clothesline, and Neidhart gets on the ring apron…only for Dynamite to go over there and kick his ass. Ha. In the ring, Davey reverses a backbreaker attempt, and gives Bret the RUNNING POWERSLAM for a 3 count at 3:44. Didn’t see that coming.
After the match, DANNY DAVIS rushes into the ring and attacks Davey from behind. Neidhart keeps Dynamite from making a save, while Davis puts the boots to Davey. How terrible!
My Thoughts: Nice little match. I’d say that I wonder what these two guys could do with more time, but I already know the answer. Regardless of that, this version of Davey can really work. He has great offense, especially in the context of the 80’s WWF. **1/4.
– May 12th, 1987, from the Convention Center in Anaheim, California
Butch Reed (w/Slick) vs. Tito Santana
Pre-Match Thoughts: Hey, it’s an arena that I’ve been to! I’ve heard good things about this match, hence the inclusion. DeGeorge is on commentary with Jesse Ventura and Bruno Sammartino. Weird team.
Match Review: Reed has a lot of heat! They lock up, and the referee is forced to break them up. Tito lands a bunch of punches, knocking Reed out of the ring. The crowd loves Tito. Reed finally lands some clubbing blows, but Tito rolls him up for a close 2. He lands a couple of dropkicks, and that knocks Reed out of the ring again. He gets back in again, and uses some HEEL STALLING TACTICS. He also takes Tito down with a shoulderblock, only to take another punch to the jaw when Tito gets up. Reed now digs for something in his tights, grabs it, and the referee finally notices it. Haha. There was nothing there! Or was there? Now the referee checks his trunks, and finds nothing. Hm. Tito puts a wristlock on Reed, and eventually breaks it…only to stomp on Reed’s wrist. Back on their feet, Reed goes back to his trunks again, and hits Tito with whatever he grabbed! I knew it! Reed choke-lifts Santana, and drops him pretty much right on his head. Then Reed gives Tito a big fist drop, and lands a series of elbows for a 2 count. And now, we head to commercial.
Back from the commercial, Tito tries to come back, only to get dumped to the floor. Reed poses inside the ring, and Slick eventually distracts the referee so that Reed can toss Tito into the ring post. Don’t know why the distraction was needed for that, but hey! Managerial involvement! Reed tries to suplex Tito back in from the apron, but Tito falls on top for a 2 count. Reed then puts Tito in a chinlock, building up quite a lot of heat. The crowd reaction to this match is surprising me. Tito tries to fight his way out, but Reed grabs hair to pull him back down. Reed sneaks his legs onto the bottom rope for leverage, and doesn’t get caught. Tito finally gets up again, and breaks the hold! Into the ropes he goes, and takes Reed down with a shoulderblock. However, Reed gets up and lands a high knee as Tito runs the ropes. A cover gets a very close 2 count. Reed picks Tito up for a piledrive, and drops him on his head…getting another close 2 count. Reed tries it again, but gets rammed into the turnbuckle. He has enough energy to head up top, but he gets caught in the stomach on the way down, and the crowd goes crazy as Tito punches Reed. Tito lands a closed fist on Reed, and ties him up in the FIGURE FOUR. Reed quickly reaches the ropes, and the referee has to make Santana quit going after him. Reed then punches Santana, and beats him up, but we have a time limit draw at 18:17. Weird time limit.
Reed continues to beat up Santana after the bell, but Tito hits Reed with the FLYING FOREARM, knocking him out. And that’s it!
My Thoughts: This was a pretty good match. The crowd was charged up for it, which was a surprise considering what the match actually was. Reed’s heel tactics were a welcome touch, and something that few WWF heels are able to do because the match often aren’t long enough. As we know, Santana is great as a babyface who gets beat up a lot, and that’s pretty much what this bout was. ***.
– Taped to air May 16th, 1987, on Superstars of Wrestling, from the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut
Hercules (w/Bobby Heenan & King Harley Race) vs. Ken Patera
Pre-Match Thoughts: BAH GAWD it’s Patera’s comeback match! Apparently, they taped this the day before, and it was so bad that they’re re-taping it here. This was the closest arena to Titan Towers, by the way. The crowd loves Patera after what he did to Heenan.
Match Review: Hercules attacks Patera to start the match, and here we go. Patera tries to come back with some punches, only to get punched. So many punches, regardless of who has control of the action. Hercules eventually ends that by giving Patera a backbreaker, and Hercules puts a bear hug on Patera too. Patera fires off a clothesline to gain control, and gives Herc a huge bodyslam as well. Another one follows soon, and Patera puts his own bear hug on Hercules. Heenan doesn’t like that, so he tells Harley Race to get in the ring, getting Hercules disqualified at 3:12.
After the match, Race and Hercules work over Patera. Then surprisingly, BILLY JACK HAYNES runs out from the back and saves Patera.
My Thoughts: I really hope this doesn’t lead to a series of tag team matches. If it does, there’s no way that I’ll watch them. The match sucked, but as always on these squash shows, a match between two legitimate participants ended with an angle being furthered. DUD.
– Taped to air May 17th, 1987, on Wrestling Challenge, from the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut
Butch Reed (w/Slick) vs. Ricky Steamboat (WWF IC Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a non-title match. After Reed’s good performance against Santana, I’m curious to see how this works out. The intro for Wrestling Challenge is snazzy.
Match Review: Reed attacks Steamboat from behind to start, and chokes Steamboat after that. DIRTY HEEL TACTICS. Reed suplexes Steamboat back into the ring, and chokes Steamboat with his own gi. He hits Steamboat with a hard elbow, and follows that with a choke-lift for a 2 count. Too many guys use that spot. Reed tosses Steamboat over the top rope, as Steamboat continues his string of no offense. Then they blow a spot, do it again, and Steamboat chops Reed after ducking under him. Reed replies with a clothesline, and covers for a near fall. Reed also bodyslams Steamboat, and gives him an elbow drop. Damn, dude. The champion isn’t doing shit! Reed tries a gorilla press slam, but Steamboat gets down, takes his back, and gives him a back suplex. Steamboat and Reed then collide in the middle of the ring, Reed gets up first, and heads to the top rope. Steamboat slams him down from there, and subsequently gets distracted by Slick. He chases Slick around the ring, into the ring, and then quits. Steamboat and Reed fight on the inside, Steamboat tries a cross body, and both guys tumble over the top to the floor. The referee counts, Steamboat gets up and into the ring first, and wins via count-out at 6:08.
My Thoughts: That’s a legitimate win! It doesn’t feel like Steamboat should be champion, because he doesn’t have any angles going and there isn’t a chase. As for the match itself, it seemed like these guys didn’t have much chemistry, and that Steamboat has lost a bit of his luster. He’s just another guy at the moment. **.
Also on this show, Killer Khan destroyed Outback Jack. It was supposed to be a match, but Khan choked Outback Jack with Fuji’s cane. I’m not sure if it would be acceptable to call this funny. I guess Khan was brought in as another heel to face Hogan, but he’s one of the worst possible Hogan opponents that I can think of. Pairing him with Mr. Fuji is appropriate, that’s for sure.
– May 18th, 1987, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
King Harley Race (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Their series is supposed to be very good, so hopefully it really is very good. When I think of interactions between these two, I think of Race allegedly pulling a gun on Hogan. This is the best heel card that they had left to play, in terms of house show draws and guys they had in their ranks. More are coming though!
Match Review: The combatants lock up, and in typical WWF formula, Hogan comes back from some early Race punches and whips him into the buckle, then follows him in with a clothesline. Then Hogan clotheslines Race over the top rope, and Race’s bump over the top looked like it smashed his face. Great bump. Race then gets pulled back into the ring, being flipped in off the apron. Race pulls Hogan to the floor, then Hogan gets back in and Race hits him with a few knee drops for a 2 count. An elbow drop also gets 2, then Hogan blocks some punches and comes back with an elbow of his own. Hogan lands a big boot on Race, knocking him down to the floor again, and Hogan follows him out there. Race rams him into the guardrail, and tries a headbutt…but Race headbutts the floor on accident. Back inside, Hogan slams his foe, goes for an elbow drop, and misses. Race puts a sleeper on Hogan, and sits down with it for a little bit. Hogan eventually wakes up, and gives Race a pair of shoulderblocks. He also catches a big boot attempt, and lands some punches. After yet another shoulderblock, Race regains control with some headbutts. Those busted Hogan open, and it’s a good sized blade too. Race heads to the top rope for a diving headbutt, but he misses. Hogan rolls him up from behind, and gets the victory at 7:54.
After the match, Harley is so pissed that he waits until Hogan puts the title belt on the canvas, sneaks into the ring, and wallops Hogan with it. HAHA. Monsoon was so pissed about that, and so was the crowd, who started throwing trash into the ring.
My Thoughts: Good beginnings. Obviously, Hogan is going to challenge Race to another match, and it is going to be a TEXAS DEATH MATCH. Aaaaahhh! Looking forward to that one, and will be watching it for my next WWF review. **1/2 for this. I liked the pace, and the lack of bumping by Hogan wasn’t that noticeable. He needed to preserve his body because he worked so much, and he did.
Demolition vs. The Killer Bees
Pre-Match Thoughts: I believe this is one of the last times I’ll be watching the Bees. How sad. The Demolition theme was really dope without lyrics. Gorilla pointed out that Mr. Fuji was not there, and I noticed that too.
Match Review: Looks like Blair and Ax will start the match. They lock up, and Ax gets to exhibit his power. He elbows Blair, misses an elbow drop (notice the difference), and gets clocked by Blair. Smash tags in, as does Brunzell, and let’s see what happens now. Brunzell puts a wristlock on Smash after a cross body, but Smash punches him in the face. Ha. Brunzell trips Smash, and tags in Blair for a double wishbone on Smash. If that was a real move, it would kind of hurt. Then, the Bees do it again after Brunzell tags in. Weird to see a heel in peril tag team match in the WWF. Finally Smash breaks free, and tags Ax, who is given a drop toe-hold by Blair. The Bees then give Demolition dual spinning toe-holds, which is…weird. The crowd didn’t even react to them. Brunzell continues to work over Ax’s leg, then Blair tags in and stomps on it. Brunzell and Blair then exchange tags while maintaining previous holds, and eventually Blair puts a figure-four on Ax, only for Smash to rush in and break it up. They double team, and Ax comes in with a cover for 2. Ax puts a chinlock on Blair, and tags in Smash to do the same thing. Gonna turn down some of these Demolition matches and not watch them. They are slow as hell. Blair tries a sunset flip on Smash, but gets punched and Ax comes back in to put the chinlock back on. Blair is able to put a backslide on Ax, but that only gets a 1 count. Ax causes Brunzell to rush in, and while the referee ushers him back to his corner, Smash switches in. He elbows Blair down to the floor, buying even more time to not do anything. How unfortunate. Ax tags back in, puts the chinlock back on, and we wait even longer for something to happen. Ax throws Blair to the floor, and Smash rams his back into the apron. That’s like, exactly what happened to the Islanders. Inside the ring, Smash puts Blair in a bear hug. FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Ax tags in and slams Blair, then switches back out again so Smash can do work. He tries a bear hug, but gets slapped, and Blair takes Smash down with a clothesline. Finally, he makes the tag! Or not! The referee didn’t see it. Ax does tag in, and summarily gets hit with a flying forearm. Now Blair really does tag Brunzell in.
Brunzell gives Demolition a noggin knocker, then an atomic drop to Smash. He lands a beautiful dropkick on Smash, but Ax breaks up the cover. Now Smash tries a slam, but Brunzell rolls him up…only for the referee to be distracted. Ax walks over, hits Brunzell, and falls on top as the referee is still distracted. The official notices the cover, counts the fall, and Demolition wins at 16:09. Ax wasn’t the legal man!
My Thoughts: That sucked. I like Demolition as characters who beat people up but that’s a perception rather than how they actually wrestled. Unless you consider endless bear hugs and chinlocks to be beating people up, that’s the truth. *1/4 and honestly, I’m going to put strong consideration into which Demolition matches I choose to watch. No more “punishing” holds. No more of that!
– Taped to air May 23rd, 1987, on Superstars of Wrestling, from the Convention Center in Anaheim, California
One Man Gang wrecks a jobber
ABOUT TIME. Gang is the second person (Missy Hyatt was the first) to come over from the UWF after their merger with Jim Crockett Promotions. In the WON, Meltzer wrote that because Gang’s manager was Slick instead of Heenan, he wasn’t going to be a major challenger to Hogan. This is completely true. Sometimes the obvious has to be spelled out, but that has been the case with Hogan’s challengers all along, hasn’t it? This isn’t just Gang’s TV debut, but his first day in the company. They couldn’t afford to not put him on TV immediately. As everyone can see, the guy got himself some big heat. His finisher for this match was an elbow drop from the second rope, and it looked really good.
Bob Orton (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s very unusual for Hogan to be wrestling on syndicated TV. Maybe that rare appearance is supposed to make the TV stations happy. The security guard who escorted Hogan to the ring looked like Wayne Knight. Hogan’s also carrying an American flag for Memorial Day weekend.
Match Review: Hogan and Orton lock up, with Orton driving Hogan back into a corner. Of course, Hogan fights his way out, and one thing I’ve just noticed is that Hogan isn’t considered a “hometown guy” for this match, even though the LA area, specifically Venice Beach, is his worked hometown. While I was noticing that, Hogan clotheslined Orton over the top rope and guardrail. Orton backs Hogan into a corner again, but Hogan shoots Orton to another turnbuckle, causing him to go upside down. Then again, nearly knocking Orton out of the ring. Hogan slams the challenger, and drops a couple elbows on him. The audience liked that. Hogan picks him up, and lands a clothesline, then covers for 2. Hogan whips Orton into a corner, and clotheslines him, then goes to attack Mr. Fuji. Orton attacks Hogan from behind, and it is now clear that the top rope has broken. Orton also gives Hogan a backbreaker, then knees Hogan to knock him out of the ring. Fuji attacks Hogan with his cane, the referee obviously not looking, as we head to commercial.
Back from that commercial, Orton is dishing out a pounding to our champion. These guys are working around the ropes very carefully. Orton sits in a chinlock for a bit, then Orton lets go and lands an elbow. Orton suplexes Hogan for 2, and continues to go to work on Hogan’s neck. Back to the chinlock, and when Hogan breaks free, they do a rope running spot. Shouldn’t do that. Orton slams Hogan, and gives him a swinging neckbreaker for another 2 count. Hogan makes his comeback by throwing Orton’s head into a few turnbuckles, but Orton stops it and gives Hogan a leg drop for 2. IT’S HULK UP TIME NOW BROTHER. 3 punches, a big boot, and Hogan DROPS THE LEG. 1-2-3, Hogan wins after about 9 minutes of good action.
My Thoughts: This was the typical formula match from Hogan, but the top rope breaking threw an interesting wrench into those plans. This match was better than their match on the first Saturday Night’s Main Event, which is just about what I was hoping for. Orton and Hogan both worked hard, knowing the match was for TV, and did a good job. **1/4.
– Taped to air May 24th, 1987, on Wrestling Challenge, from the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California
Dino Bravo (w/Johnny V) vs. Brutus Beefcake
Pre-Match Thoughts: Don’t forget, Beefcake chopped Johnny V’s hair off. This can’t be a good match, but I want to see how the angle is furthered. Dino Bravo looks like a moron with bleached hair.
Match Review: These two big guys lock up, and Beefcake hits Bravo with a goofy ass punch. He also gives Bravo an atomic drop, and follows that with a hip toss and bodyslam. Bravo heads to the outside for a rest, then eventually crawls back in. He tugs Beefcake’s hair to knock him down, and hits him with some ridiculously stupid kicks. This is embarrassing. Bravo gives Beefcake a gutwrench suplex, and drops a leg before celebrating. He then gives Beefcake a bodyslam, and follows with an elbow drop. Bravo gives Beefcake a sidewalk slam, as we’re interrupted by an insert promo from the Rougeau’s! They want the New Dream Team in the ring. Bravo misses an elbow drop, then gets clotheslined. Beefcake gives Bravo an inverted atomic drop, as I ponder the meaning of life. Beefcake follows with a backdrop, and puts THE SLEEPER on his Canadian foe. Bravo was going to sleep, but Valentine ran in and got Bravo DQ’d at 3:50.
Valentine bodyslams Beefcake, elbow drops him, and the New Dream Team is kicking his ass. Valentine locks in the figure-four, then here comes the Rougeau’s to put a stop to all this nonsense. And that’s how the angle gets furthered.
My Thoughts: Of course Valentine would never want his tag team partner to sleep or get a hair cut. That would be so unlike him. While this does further a feud between the New Dream Team and Beefcake with the Rougeau Brothers, there’s no way I’m watching any of that unless I have to. And unless it’s on SNME, I don’t. 1/2*, at least they tried!
So, two days after this show aired, the Iron Sheik & Jim Duggan got arrested. The story goes that they were riding in a car together and Duggan got busted drinking a beer while driving. As everyone knows by now, both of them had drugs and were doing them together in the car. Sheik had cocaine, and Hacksaw had weed. Obviously, it had some impact on the business, because guys feuding with each other shouldn’t be riding in cars with each other. Supposedly both guys were going to be fired, but Duggan had some value, and it didn’t turn out that way for him. Sheik had no value to the WWF, or anyone else. Especially not with a cocaine charge over his head. He’s gone for a while, but I was always super entertained by his run. Not so much in the ring, but on the microphone.
-Taped to air May 30th, on Superstars of Wrestling, from the Convention Center in Anaheim, California
The Islanders vs. The Can-Am Connection
Pre-Match Thoughts: Interesting babyface match here. The Islanders have shown some heel traits of late, but regardless, this is very strange.
Match Review: Haku and Martel start off the match, and Haku trips him. Tama’s insert promo was…different. Martel gives Haku a hip toss and flying head-scissors, showing nice speed. Haku comes back with a bodyslam, but is given a small package for 2. Martel then counters a whip into the corner by springboarding out of it with a cross body that gets 2. Zenk tags in, and Haku slams him. However, Zenk fires off an arm drag, only to get kicked in the face. Now Tama tags in, and I’ve noticed that Bobby Heenan is at ringside. What the hell. Zenk rolls up Tama for 2, and now there’s commotion about Heenan being in the Can-Am’s corner. The Islanders attack the Connection from behind, and now Heenan walks over to their corner. They give Zenk a double headbutt, then send him to the outside. Tama slams him on the floor, and gives him a diving headbutt from the apron! Naturally, Zenk gets counted out at 3:52. How could he possibly get up from that? Then the surprise is revealed, and Heenan is the Islanders new manager!
My Thoughts: This is a very good turn. The execution is secondary, the WWF really needed another heel team. You only need to look at the big Survivor Series 1987 tag team match to see the disparity in quality of teams. Without the Islanders on the heel side, the WWF would have had the Hart Foundation, Demolition, Bolsheviks, New Dream Team, and likely the Conquistadors as one of the teams. There are three really bad duos there. This was obviously necessary. ** for the match and execution. The Islanders should have some really good matches going forward, they were a bit lost on the babyface side with the Bulldogs, Bees, Rougeau’s, and Can-Am Connection all still being pushed. It also looked like Patera and Haynes were going to team up, based on the angles seen on TV.
So, that’s two months in the books. There are a LOT of new guys coming in too. I’m not sure of when the debuts are, but the first to sign were Ted DiBiase and Bam Bam Bigelow. That’s great news. The Midnight Rockers are also supposed to come in. More on that later. Sam Houston is joining up. The Ultimate Warrior is coming in. Someone else who I don’t want to mention yet is also coming in! Ron Bass also joined up, but he hasn’t done shit yet. Curt Hennig was supposed to join at some point during these two months, but wound up not making the jump. Roddy Piper is also making appearances for Portland, but not working there. So even though the summer looked a bit dead heading in, there is a lot of stuff going on. More than I thought, at that. Duggan being out takes away a good babyface draw, and Steamboat goes on hiatus soon…so it will be interesting to see how things adjust. Next up, I’ll be reviewing May, June, and July (sans Great American Bash, which is its own review) from the NWA. There’s a shortage of material from this period, but I’m going to do my best. Fortunately this is not the case in future years, but for whatever reason, 1987 is light on things that have been put on the internet, and I don’t have much of anything to compensate for that gap.
Best: Tito Santana vs. Butch Reed. There was nothing to recommend as a match, but this was pretty close. All in all, an average few months in the ring.
Worst: Everything Brutus Beefcake is the drizzling shits, despite it being necessary to review it to show where the company is heading with him. End of story.